The Department for Transport says buses across England will benefit from up to £130 million of government support, ensuring services keep running and millions of passengers can continue using affordable transport.
The funding package will cover 6 months from October 2022 to March 2023, and the DfT says builds on almost two years’ worth of unprecedented government support to keep bus networks running. Almost £2 billion has been made available to over 160 bus operators during the pandemic.
The government says additional funding will help to protect bus services and routes, which are particularly important to people facing pressures due to the rising cost of living. It says the government is using “every tool at its disposal to help people, from ensuring they can access affordable travel, to providing £37 billion of support for the most vulnerable households”.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said, “This funding will ensure millions across the country can continue to use vital bus services, and brings the total we’ve provided to the sector throughout the pandemic to almost £2 billion.
“At a time when people are worried about rising costs, it’s more important than ever we save these bus routes for the millions who rely on them for work, school and shopping.”
The government says it also investing £3 billion in bus services by 2025, including over £1 billion to improve fares, services and infrastructure, and a further £525 million for zero emission buses.
Graham Vidler, Chief Executive of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, said, “We welcome the government’s announcement of recovery funding to support bus services in local communities for a further 6 months.
“The announcement will help bus operators and local authority partners to balance a network of reliable and affordable services in the short-term as bus networks adapt to new travel patterns.
“For the longer-term, we will continue to work closely with central government and local authorities to encourage existing and new passengers to get on board the country’s buses, ensuring they are provided the best possible services.”
(Picture – National Express West Midlands)